In 2017, the consulting firm McKinsey published a comprehensive study on the evolution of the construction sector with respect to other large economic sectors. This showed that comparatively speaking, construction was one of the least competitive and most inefficient sectors among the largest on the planet. On the other hand, the increase in construction costs and labor shortage, in addition to the new regulations, force the industry to reduce errors and waste.
Currently, this industry is still slower in terms of innovation and adoption of trends than others such as the automobile, telecommunications, etc. The same construction trends persist year after year with slightly different nuances. But slowly,, new technology is beginning to change construction companies and projects, which help adopters improve their ability to win projects and increase profit margins. New trends are changing the roles of industry professionals and front-line workers. The industry is slowly entering the 21st century.
As the industry becomes more competitive and the market changes, the adoption of these trends in the construction industry will be vital for any construction company. But what are these new trends? What technologies are already changing the world of construction?
1 – Technology to improve efficiency
There is a new batch of technological products that have been in the market for a long time already, which are now being spread in the industry. We are talking about drones, augmented reality, high precision laser meters, etc. All of them allow us to reduce the execution time of many common tasks such as 3D visualization, automated measurement, quick and affordable simulation of architectural and structural changes, safety training and risk simulations, etc.
2 – Mobile technology
Nowadays, mobile devices are part of our daily life. In the case of construction workers (both on-site and technical workers), their mobile device provides them with many applications that help them improve and be more efficient in their work. There are some which are very focused (measurements, orders to suppliers) while others are more complete, which are used for the design and management of construction projects. Today, having complete mobile connectivity between work teams clearly increases efficiency and productivity.
3 – Design and construction management software
There are all kinds of software that fits to the size and needs of each company. Having great construction management software is also a vital component of staying competitive, building a valuable business, and mastering operational efficiency.
One of the newest is BIM or information modeling that allows users to generate computer representations of buildings and public services. The ease of managing these models and sharing data can enable superior part prefabrication, leading to timely and accurate completion.
4 – Modular and prefabricated construction
Modular and precast construction has seen a great expansion in recent years. As the technology supporting off-site modular units improves, we can expect to see much more activity in this area. Its main advantages are ease of production and assembly, speed, and lack of waste. In addition, with new technologies, these prefabricated and modular buildings are being built taller and more robust.
5 – Sustainable construction
Green building has become the standard expected by homebuyers, renters, and commercial tenants, despite the fact that many sustainable and green features remain a luxury that precludes more widespread application. But this may change in the coming years. Whether due to pressure within the construction industry, end-customer demand, or regulations, expectations are that renewable energy will continue to grow as a percentage of total consumption. That’s a huge market, given that the buildings are responsible for most of the country’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Concepts such as Circular Economy of materials (cradle to cradle) take the concept of “recycling” to the next step.